Executive director of Edible Garden City
2022 will be a year of introspection from my 10 years of work in urban agriculture. It'll be a year of deep research into the topic of food sovereignty and what that means to Singapore and the Southeast Asian region.
Tell us your story, how did you get here?
I was born and raised in tropical Singapore and started my career as an online marketing specialist. My stint in advertising brought me to London. It was during a particularly harsh winter that I realised something was missing in my life. Working in the corporate sector wasn’t something I wanted to continue doing. I quit my job, and for the next 3 years, travelled and worked on organic farms across Europe.
Having obtained a diploma in Biodynamic Agriculture in East Sussex, I returned to Singapore with the dream of combining my knowledge of farming and business training. In 2012, Edible Garden was started with the hope of building urban farms to help Singapore tackle its food security challenges.
Today, Edible Garden City (EGC) employs a team of 40 staff members. It’s carving out its own niche in a new industry sector in Singapore, having built more than 270 food gardens for hotels, schools, F&B outlets, property developers and home gardens. With a strong belief in educational initiatives for the public and the youth, I’ve actively given close to 1,000 public talks and workshops to industry professionals, students and the public in Singapore, Korea, Italy, Indonesia, Hong Kong, the UK, New Zealand and Australia.
In the span of 9 years, EGC has contributed to the growing discussions of urban farming and food security in Singapore and raised awareness of the movement and food issues to the younger generation.
What impact have you made in Singapore?
Built over 270 edible gardens in Singapore, reduced carbon dioxide emissions through urban farming (45 tonnes per year), provided food sustainability education for 220 organisations and schools, and provided 15 jobs for beneficiaries.
What does 2022 look like for you?
2022 will be a year of introspection from my 10 years of work in urban agriculture. It’ll be a year of deep research into the topic of food sovereignty and what that means to Singapore and the Southeast Asian region. I hope that through this research, I’ll better understand the global food system and how we can create an impact to solve inequity issues within the food supply chain beyond the shores of Singapore.
What do you love most about Singapore?
The tropical climate, which has allowed us to grow produce all year round. It’s rather forgiving to mistakes made as compared to a temperate climate – once a mistake is made then, we have to wait a whole year to rectify it in the next season.
I also love the diversity of the tropical ecosystem and how green and well-planned Singapore is for walks in the city.
What’s the one change in the world you’d like to see?
We need to move collectively as a global community to question the ills of the neo-liberal economy and a system guided by extractive principles. There’s a need to shift economic systems and base them on regenerative principles so we can build a more caring and emphatic society.
Who is your Local Legend, and why?
Tay Lai Hock, the founder of Ground-Up Initiative (GUI), was a pioneer in the sustainable living ecosystem. I’ve gained a lot of insight and experiences from my early days of volunteering with GUI, guided by his wisdom in creating a movement that’s emphatic and inclusive.